Troubleshooting Email Delivery

Published in Convert Forms
Updated 28 Sep, 2022

By reading this guide, you should be able to identify the reason why your emails are not being sent successfully as well as identifying why your emails are getting into the spam folder of your inbox.

In order to follow this troubleshooting guide, "Email Notifications" under the Behavior tab within your form should be enabled and have already created email notification(s). If you haven't set up your form's email notifications, please click here: How to set up Email Notifications

1. Verify your site can send emails

Convert Forms does not provide its own email delivery service and relies on Joomla! to send the emails. If your Joomla! Mail Settings are incorrect then Convert Forms wont be able to send emails either, it's like a chain reaction. So first step is to check your Mail Settings that they are set up correct and allow you to send emails.

Joomla! provides you with a variety of options to send emails, first option to check is if we can send emails via the PHP Mail option, which is also the default one.

1.1 Check Mail Settings

To verify that your site can send emails, you will need to find Mail Settings under System > Global Configuration > Server > Mail Settings.

Once you are in Mail Settings, choose PHP Mail as your Mailer and press the Send Test Mail button to check if the default Joomla PHP Mailer can send a test email.


You can read a more detailed guide on how to test your Mail Settings by clicking on the following link: How to test your Mail Settings

Does the email get delivered to your inbox?

No, the email does not get delivered.

Since the email does not arrive to your inbox, this means that with the PHP Mailer, you site is unable to send emails. You should try using an external SMTP Server such as GMail, Outlook, etc...

Continue on the next step, 1.2 Use external SMTP Server.

Yes, the email gets delivered to my inbox.

You have properly configured your Mail Settings. Now, you will need to check your form's settings on the next section, 2. Check your form's Email Settings.

1.2 Use external SMTP Server

If you were not successful in sending mails using the PHP Mail option, you could try using any authenticated external SMTP Server such as Gmail, Outlook, etc...

You read on how to setup your Mail Settings for Gmail and Outlook using the following guides:

Note: Keep in mind that Gmail has restrictions when you are using 2-step veritifcation, so you will need to generate an App Password which will be used as your password in order to send emails from within Joomla!. The same restrictions may apply to other providers as well.

Does the email arrive in your inbox?

No, I still do not receive any emails.

Please double check your SMTP Mailer of choice's documentation for any setting that may have been overlooked and if you still cannot send emails, please go to the next step, 1.3 Enable SMTP debug option.

Yes, I receive emails to my inbox.

Your Mail Settings have been configured correctly and can now send emails! Please go to the next section so you can check you form's settings, 2. Check your form's Email Settings.

1.3 Enable SMTP debug option

The PHPMailer that Joomla! uses comes along with an option that allows us to enable the debug on the SMTP service. This will tell us what information are being shared between Joomla and the Mail server.

To enable the SMTP debug option, you will need to edit the following file:

Joomla 3


Joomla 4


After opening the file, search for the variable:

Joomla 3
public $SMTPDebug = false;
Joomla 4
public $SMTPDebug = 0;

and change it to

public $SMTPDebug = 2;

This will enable the debug messages being sent back and forth on the communication and thus displaying them on the browser as we try to submit a form by giving us the reason why the SMTP Mail Server cannot send an email. This applies only for when you have selected the option SMTP Mailer on the Joomla! Global Configuration page. There is no way to get any debug messages on the communication protocol used by PHP Mail or Sendmail options on the Mail Settings Configuration.

Did you solve your SMTP issues using the debug option?

No, couldn't figure out how to make the SMTP send emails.

You should search the Joomla forums for other similar forum threads experiencing the same problem as yours or try the next step, 1.4 Get in contact with your host.

Yes, I receive emails to my inbox.

Your SMTP Server settings have been configured correctly! Please go to the next section so you can check you form's settings as well. 2. Check your form's Email Settings

1.4 Get in contact with your host

If you still cannot figure out how to configure your Mail Settings using an SMTP Server, you should contact your host and ask for their support in checking if your server is properly configured to send emails using either the PHP Mail function or using an external SMTP Server. Their expertise and guidance should help you solve these issues while explaining to you what caused this behavior.

Check your Form's Email Settings

Are you seeing issues with delivery of your form's notification emails? There are many factors that can contribute to email deliverability, but in most cases the solution is to adjust the email notification settings. In this guide, you will be shown how to troubleshoot notification emails in Convert Forms.

  • Typos: Check that all emails are spelled correctly, and multiple emails are separated by a comma.
  • Sender: You must always send emails via the Smart Tag {} as this is the authorized email address to send emails as defined in Global Configuration > Server > Mail Settings > From Email.
  • Sender: In some email providers, having the same Send To Email Address and From Email address can be flagged as spam or blocked from delivery.
  • From Email: There can only be one From Email. Also, in some cases using a domain-specific email address as the From Email can improve deliverability (ie [email protected]).

Tips to avoid the Spam Folder

Here are some quick times that should help you in order to keep your mail out of the Spam folder:

  2. D o n t   p u t  g a p s  b e t w e e n  l e t t e r s  a n y w h e r e !
  3. One exclamation marks works fine, don’t go crazy!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!
  4. Stay away from words and phrases that sound gimmicky: Buy Now, Click Here, Free, As Seen On, Double Your X, Money Making, Get Paid, Make Cash, Pre-Approved, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Low Price, Save Big, etc.
  5. Encourage subscribers to whitelist/add you as a contact, and personalize your 'To' field with the recipient's name.
  6. Be sure your 'From' name is relevant to your business/site to prevent confusion.
  7. Be sure you don't have the same Send To Email Address and From Email address.
  8. Keep images minimal. Having more space in the body of an email taken up by images than by text raises lots of red flags. Aim for a high text to image area ratio.
  9. Be very careful about the quality and quantity of links in the content. Keep the number of links minimized and don't use url shorteners.

How to send e-mails locally or on a development machine

It is often that you find yourself running Joomla! locally or on a development machine before taking it online. This causes email delivery problems since your local machine is not configured to send emails by default or it could be misconfigured and thus the Mail server wont be able to send mails as they would all get mistaken as spam.

If you are determined to send emails locally, you will need to configure your development environment using SMTP via the method discussed on 1.2 Use external SMTP Server.

After configuring your Mail Settings, you should check out Form's Email Settings as well. Learn how below.